She Lived

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Etching by Gustave Dore

Etching by Gustave Dore

 

A dear friend of mine passed away a week ago after an 8 year struggle with cancer. She has gone beyond the veil. I was fortunate enough to have spent some long periods of time with her this year. I realized this morning that during these last few months, with health and abilities declining, she didn’t lose her “spark.” Because of this, I actually missed the fact that she was losing the battle with cancer. My first thought… I was in denial. However, reflecting on our conversations I see now that yes, her body was declining, but she was the same person she had always been, loving, caring, joyful, positive, conversational and very funny. Her body changed but she didn’t, so I didn’t see that she’d be leaving us soon. I missed it completely.

We worked together over a period of ten years, developing a friendship after she resigned due to cancer treatment and declining health. When we spent time together, she would catch me off guard with her humor talking about “this cancer” or life events that had occurred. Life events that would have thrown most of us into a deep dark tizzy she handled with calm grace. I learned from her. The gracefulness, trust and humor illustrated in her words and actions quietly, without notice, sifted into my own approach to life. Gifts I didn’t realize she’d gently passed to me. I wonder if she knew herself? If she saw the change…

What I will remember most from our time together over the last five years is the laughter, the stories and memories we’d share about the old workplace, family or pets. She’d have this grin on her face, and sometimes would stop talking altogether because we’d think the same thing… pause and wham!  We’re both laughing to the point of tears. What a hero! … I miss her already. Thank you dear friend for sharing your life-journey with me. Thank you for laughing and crying with me, thank you for showing me that we are more than these bodies, more than the events that make up our lives, that we are indeed living spirit experiencing life and most of all that we are more than this… Life’s journey is a workshop for the Spirit!

We will see each other again.

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We Are Heroes… Magnificent and Courageous

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We are heroes, strong and courageous. Warriors of the day and sometimes the night. Life events unfold, some so good, others just tragic, through youth, young adulthood to adult, to middle age, and elder years. Good childhoods, not-so-good childhoods, wonderful home life, so-so home life, broken homes, great parents or broken parents. We get married, maybe stay that way or later divorced, sometimes face the challenges of being with a partner who has addictions, or maybe we deal with that challenge ourselves. Sometimes we stay single, or sometimes we lose our partner well before their time and we are alone. Children come along, or sometimes they don’t… but if they do, along with them is another set of life events that intersect with our own. We choose careers we love… or hate, sometimes just in-between. Our health is good, or not so good, or maybe absolutely horrible, but we move on moment-to-moment, day-to-day, year-to-year, fighting the good fight… being a hero.  We are heroes… life-path warriors.

This is how I’ve chosen to see living. As a person of courage. How else can such human life tragedy or joy, despair or all-good be fittingly described? In seeing myself as a strong, heroic, capable being, I am better able to face any particular moment as it unfolds. I am a hero.

While driving to and from the office, just me and my thoughts, I’ve reinforced this glorious hero perspective by listening to inspiring, epic music. Some composed by Audiomachine, their songs Blood and Stone, Hope and Glory, Solstice Sun, Army of Kings,  Existence: Beyond the Clouds and Rebirth are my favorites. Violinist Lindsey Stirling also has some amazing send-shivers-through-your-body compositions such as Transcendence, Elements, Song of the Caged Bird and Assassin’s Creed Theme. I get in 60 minutes every day of “I can conquer the world” hero-rousing tunes. Some bring memories of getting through a particular life event that left me broken way back when, bringing on tears but also feelings of gratitude for having bravely survived what occurred. Grateful for the courage that has kept me going.

We are amazing creatures. Perfect beings in our imperfections. You are courageous. You are magnificently brave. Choose to recognize the hero that you are. And so it goes, and so it is, and so it shall be. All said. We carry on. Peace dear reader, and much love to you for the journey.

 

I Am Not Broken

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Leah Pearlman Dharma Comics

Leah Pearlman
Dharma Comics

The betrayal began ever so slowly in 2008. At first I blamed the stress of crazy work hours and raising a family alone for being sick. Unable to eat without frequent trips to the bathroom (sorry, I know TMI), nausea, dizziness and weakness…  Feeling broken and betrayed by my body, I went on a quest to regain wellness. I dove into the land of doctors, tests, hospitals and specialists. One doctor told me I had IBS (nope), another said it was GERD (test said no), still another said it was my gall bladder. She sent me for a gall bladder scan, said it was malfunctioning and to go see the surgeon… have it taken out. Surgeon said no, just don’t eat fried foods. “You’re a healthy woman, just eat right and you’ll be fine.” Oh. Ok. I didn’t eat fried foods but I figured he’s the expert, maybe I just needed to eat even healthier than healthy.

I went in for food allergy testing at the suggestion of a friend, about 15 foods show up. I cut them from my menus, including gluten, soy and dairy. Already down 15 pounds, this new change in diet spurred another 15 pound weight-loss… I’m now down 30 pounds, feeling even weaker and more fatigued. My long-time doctor suggested I see a nutritionist. She’s very concerned and afraid for me and says so. I appear to be suffering from malnutrition. The nutritionist tells me that she believes I have adrenal fatigue in addition to the food allergies and a lowered immune system. I follow her menus, feel a little better, however I gain no weight. I know. What a problem right? But I’m in a size 2 now and that’s just too thin.

Mid-2015, I have no vacation or sick time left. My body has betrayed me big time. I am frustrated and embarrassed. Confidence has faded. My social life is non-existent. I’ve become a recluse. I’m afraid to eat but force 2000 calories of anything I can stomach down so I won’t lose any more weight. The doctors give me medications for nausea, medications for dizziness, medications for GERD (which I don’t have), medications for acid reducers (I don’t have acid reflux). I see a gastro dude, he does all the tests, they come back clear. No cancer, no celiac disease, no ulcers. He tells me to take the acid reducers. What? I don’t have indigestion. I don’t have acid reflux. I don’t take them. I will have none of it.

Caring for the family and holding onto my job were my driving forces throughout this challenging time. Despite how I felt physically, except for the very worst of days, I went in to the office. I found side streets through small neighborhoods that took me the 11 1/2 miles in every day rather than the main roads. If I felt sick, I could pull over and wouldn’t be in the midst of traffic. I kept plastic bags in the car and a change of clothes. I knew where all the bathrooms were on the way to work. I took naps at breaks and at lunchtime, drinking bone-broths and water, living on boiled chicken, potatoes and rice. I stopped socializing completely, sometimes hitting the pillows at 7:30 p.m. hoping I would get enough magical deep sleep and feel better the next day. I couldn’t trust that this body, this earthly vehicle would function from moment to moment. I became anxious and fearful.

Life had become nothing more than trying to make it from one moment to the next. Enough. I took my health into my own hands. July of this year, based on “gut” feeling (pun intended), I went to see the surgeon who did my emergency appendectomy 3 years ago. I explained what had been occurring and told her I thought it was my gall bladder. She listened, affirmed the symptoms as possible gall bladder disease and ordered another scan. She called and scheduled gall bladder surgery the next day. Yes. It was distended. After the surgery she said, “You should have had this out years ago, it was completely inflamed.” Who would have thought one little organ could wreck such havoc?

Surgery was August 12th. It’s October. I am a new woman. I had pumpkin pancakes and chicken-apple sausage for dinner last night. I am joy-filled. I am no longer sick after I eat. I’m regaining strength and have gained a pound or two. It’s been a long, long journey to wellness. It will take more time to feel 100%, especially with the anxiety and fear of illness that has become my life. I had an ah-ha moment the other day when I realized how cautious I’ve become about what goes into my mouth. Living with chronic illness had become a way of life, it was MY life. I will have to rebuild the trust that this body will do what it is supposed to do, to reprogram mind to know body is doing ok now.

During the years of illness, I lost contact with several friends because I couldn’t make it to their parties, celebrations, life-events. I was too sick. Still, there were those, both family and friends, who stood by me and supported me regardless of my condition, they showed up at the hospital, they took me to appointments, they did my grocery shopping and brought me food. They helped me clean house and let me sleep when I couldn’t keep going, sometimes entire weekends. In addition to family and friends, there were many women, earth angels, at the office who supported me throughout the years. I am deeply grateful for their prayers, support, encouragement and everlasting understanding while I walked this journey to a new state of wellness. You know who you are!

In addition to moving onto a path to wellness, the four-week recovery from surgery provided downtime to finish writing my book, “An Awakening – Life’s Journey is a Workshop for the Spirit: We are more than this.” I finished writing the book, had it edited, worked with a book cover artist, contacted an e-book formatting company, pulled the book together and released it on Amazon. It was literally effortless. Each step flowed from one to the next. This is when you know with conviction that you’re doing what you’re meant to do.

So what do you think? A happy ending wouldn’t you say? Each day I feel stronger and healthier, happier and more alive. I’m still a bit of a homebody, baby steps might be a good idea for now. I received the first royalty check today from Amazon. Wow. It can only get better. Many thanks, much love and deep bow to all who held me up through these last 7 years. I am forever grateful.

And so it is. And so it shall be.

 

 

 

 

Go… do it.

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I turned 60 this September, a milestone birthday. I celebrated with my children and longtime friends. We had a fabulous time sharing memories and celebrating life. It warmed my heart. This morning on the drive to the office, I reflected on how I would not have done anything differently in life, but also at the same time it occurred to me that I wouldn’t advise anyone to live the way I have. There is so much more to life than what is dictated, than what we’re taught by society, we are  so much more than this.

We are more than education and careers, houses or cars or stuff and stuff and stuff, we are more! We are more than work or fame or accomplishment, we are more than what mainstream dictates is important to be happy. So what would I tell young adults? Or even those closing in toward middle age? Change your path, do what you love, be joyous, be wise. Yes. I know it sounds very cliché’ doesn’t it? Follow your dreams, be yourself… but it’s right on target. This is what we discover later with experience and the wisdom that comes with it, when half of life or two-thirds have played out.

It’s not too late really. I can, you can, make a change, small or huge, no matter what, it’s not too late. It’s a conscious choice. It’s a courageous choice. To look at the order of one’s life with a discerning eye listening to the inner questions that have nudged at you forever, that voice you’ve pushed aside again and again. Maybe because the responsibilities overshadowed that small, timid voice. Maybe because you thought it was unlikely, unimaginable, unthinkable that dreams could become reality. Maybe because it would be too much work or too much change and what about those around you? What of them?

So. What to do… what to do. Pull out that notebook, art pad, newsprint paper and make lists, draw, scribble out dreams and words and deepest hearts desires. Examine them, reorder, organize and reorganize and then come up with a plan. Why not? What do you have to lose? What do we have to gain? What life-journey chapter is unwritten? Go… do it! Take the plunge. Live big, out loud, vigorously and with childlike joy. You’ve carried others along, moving them to independence. You’ve done your job as a mother, daughter, sister, friend, father, son, brother… more.

Now. It’s time. What have you imagined? What are those words? The dreams? Have courage. Go… do it.

 

Let Go and Know

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by Patricia Griffin

 

Knowing we are one in Spirit living a physical existence requires making better choices, better choices in the words we use when speaking with others as well as an elevated awareness of actions taken in any given situation. With the awareness of the Whole, I find I have higher expectations for myself and the way I live my life now more than ever. Did I act with integrity? Did I choose right action? Was I mindful of others? Am I conscious of my responsibilities as part of the Living Spirit, as part of the Whole?

Tough when human-ness and autopilot kick in. When I’m attending to the basement flooded with sewage or trying to find a repairman for the dryer that finally gave out and the entire household needs to do laundry. Tough when the office door becomes a revolving door with many needing much and all at the same time. Tough when sleep is evasive and morning comes too soon. I’ve kept journals since childhood where I  write dreams, life events, goals and meditative experiences. These chronicles carry proof of synchronicity and connectedness with All That Is. Experiences and outcomes witness to the words, “All is Well…”

How wonderful and full of grace to have pages and pages to remind me to stop, breathe and recognize the many times on this life-path where it got hard and I got worried, to remember that in the end all those events resolved. All and everything required to resolve the challenges on my life path have been provided. These last many months are no different and have proven yet again that all I need do is remember that all is as it should be.

Surrender and trust. Let go and know. BELIEVE and find comfort.

“Trust that there is a power within you that is greater than all the seeming failures of the outside world. Trust that you are guided and directed to experience God’s greatest good for your life. As we begin to live from this deep and abiding trust in the God that surrounds us and lives within us, we will come to realize that yes, every day is a holiday, and every meal is indeed a banquet. We live our lives in grace, joy, and gratitude. This you can trust.” ~ Eugene Holden, SOM

 

Divinity on Call

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by Tristen C. Masters

by Tristen C. Masters

 

“When we identify ourselves with God’s image and likeness, the new birth will begin.” ~ Phineas Parkhust Quimby

During metaphysical or spiritual conversation with friends, most often our discussion will turn to the question, “What is my purpose?” In Letters from God I shared how over the early part of this year there had been a period of inner conflict and spiritual fogginess. I was fearful about having lost my purpose. After deliberate dissection of all that occurred during that time, I realized that I had not lost anything, rather it was a period of intense deep learning. This period resulted in a stronger conviction as well as a more heightened awareness of living Spirit and my purpose…to be a light for others, always a source of compassion and love.

“The little accidents of life, those happy accidents that quietly shepherd us outside our own order of things, those odd and lovely coincidences, may they find no resistance in you. May you be yielded beyond your common distractions, for love may lead by a different map than the one you studied at daybreak…” ~ David Teems

Pre-February I understood acting as a source of light at a more conceptual level after having experienced collective spiritual connections in both the meditative and dream states.  However, since this most current burst of learning, being led “by a different map,” there is an ever-constant conscious awareness of walking as Spirit in this physical environment. There is an ever-constant conscious awareness that all is well and as it should be. There is an ever-constant consciousness that my purpose is to be there for others, to be a light of love demonstrating Spirit in the physical. There is an ever-constant consciousness that we are more than this…

“Someone needs you today. Someone must ask no less than Christ of you…For need is never still, never really quiet. It sends out its signal, its pulses, alarms. Some are obvious. Some are hidden. Some lay beneath all detectable thresholds. Some have no voice at all. May all the hidden engines of sense within you be awake and vigilant, even as divinity on call.” ~ David Teems

“Even as divinity on call…”

Letters From God

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Open book magic

“I find letters from God dropt in the street, and every one is sign’d by God’s name, And I leave them where they are, for I know that wheresoe’er I go, Others will punctually come for ever and ever.”  ~ Walt Whitman

Life challenges swallowed me whole so it’s been awhile since you’ve heard my words. Oblivious, chewed up and gulped by events one after another as the days slipped by, my words dried up. I moved from one thing to the next doing what needs to be done, living what needs to be lived. During that time there was spiritual fogginess with little depth, and you know dear readers that it’s in those depths where I feel most comfortable. Dreams, visions and knowings continued underneath the long stretch of days and weeks that have passed, but they flitted about, running off before I could grasp them.

Dissecting all of this, I discovered a resistance to life unfolding. It’s not what I want, I whispered against each event, “This is not what I had in mind, no not this way…I want to go another way.”  Still life continued to move forward with me as a reluctant participant. Whitman’s writing shook me out of the fog. Reading through previous posts, I see that the words pouring out in my blog, these pages are my letters from God. These words are Grace rising up, rushing in, allowing remembrance that no matter what circumstances we face, all is well and as it should be. As living energy, expressions of the Whole, life continues to unfold in creative expression just as it should. Our role is to flow, observe and appreciate.

In his book, A New Design for Living, Ernest Holmes states, “Since our lives are primarily mental, an activity of consciousness, it would naturally follow that we should come to believe that something wonderful, new, and original, something continuously expansive, is happening to us at all times.”

True yes? I suppose it all depends on perspective as what’s occurring presents itself. I myself got bogged down in the muck of events, or what I perceived as muck. Holmes goes on to say,

“On the other hand, how much of our time is spent in denying ourselves the privilege of entering into a greater degree of livingness? We are possibly bound by more negative ideas than we will realize. We keep saying, ‘I cannot. I don’t know how…Everything is against me. All of these statements are flat denials of Life Itself, and the creative flow of It through us.”

As I continue to navigate life events that prove challenging and at times overwhelming, I hold the letters of God in mind and have made a conscious decision to move with the flow. I am ever reminded that we are more than this…